Get Out of Your Way

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Whether you are a business owner, an employee, a student, an athlete, or any other label you wish to use to describe yourself, you probably have dreams and goals for yourself that you are not yet achieving. Over the past 15 years of working with a wide variety of businesses and entrepreneurs in dozens of industries, from startups to 3rd generation family businesses, I have seen dreams come and go, some fulfilled but many not. Looking back at my own experiences and listening to and learning from others much wiser than I am, it is clear that the number one reason people do not achieve their goals and dreams is that they are unable to get out of their own way! We tend to blame pretty much everyone and everything else for our failures to achieve, but in the end it really comes down to each and every one of us and our own personal limitations.

So how do we fix that? Well, the mind is a powerful thing, and whatever thoughts we put into our heads and hold there will determine our level of success, achievement, and fulfillment. In other words, we will be as happy and content as we allow ourselves to be. The key is to stop putting disabling thoughts in our heads and to replace them with enabling thoughts so that we can push ahead towards our dreams and goals.

The first step is to make sure that our purpose is crystal clear, our personal motivators. We call this “Finding Your Drive”, the singular purpose that makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning, to work through lunch, to stay late, to overcome the obstacles the world throws at you. When you find your drive, you have that extra little burst of energy and strength to push through the barriers the world throws at us.

The most difficult barriers to overcome, however, are not the ones the world throws at us, but the ones we come up with for ourselves. One of the most common is the “I’m Not Good Enough” belief. If you really believe this is true, then find another line of work where you will be good enough so that you can be successful. In most cases this belief isn’t actually true, but is a fear we hold onto. What we need to do is turn this fear into a question – “What If I Am Good Enough, Then What?”. By allowing the possibility that you are good enough, you unleash your inner creativity and passions to push past the fear and, in the words of Jack Canfield, “act as if” you are good enough.

We spend too much time in our businesses and lives thinking about negative what-ifs: “What if I fail?”, “What if this doesn’t work?”, or “What if I don’t get the promotion?” In order to get out of your own way, you need to turn these negative questions around instead ask yourself questions like: “What if this succeeds?”, “What if this works out?”, and “What if I get this job?”

The last tip I want to share is related to how we tend to spend our personal energy. There are two primary types of goals and motivators in our lives, positive and negative. Many people spend the majority of their energy on negative goals, or moving away from pain. We focus on things like getting out of debt, having less stress, or avoiding losses/failures. When this is the focus of our energy, we settle for mediocrity, far short of our dreams and goals, because we are satisfied with being relatively pain free. Positive goals on the other hand move us towards pleasure, towards personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

So if you are ready to finally start moving towards the achievement of your dreams and goals for yourself and your family, take a few minutes to think about the barriers you create for yourself.

Ask yourself what thoughts hold you back, what anchors you in your current situation, and then make a conscious decision to let go of these anchors and replace them with enabling thoughts. The only “what if” you should ever ask yourself is “What if I could?” Let go and get out of your own way today.

Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY